(USNewsMag.com) – Former President Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis, the two leading contenders for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election, are starting to duke it out again. While DeSantis criticized Trump for comments the former president made about the radical Islamic group Hezbollah, Trump told DeSantis he should come back to Florida.
In a speech at Club 47 in West Palm Beach last Wednesday night, Trump said that DeSantis (who he calls “DeSanctis”) is “flying around the country” and “setting fire to his reputation” while also “destroying the reputation” of the Sunshine State. He said all DeSantis is doing “is campaigning rather than dealing with problems happening in Florida, such as “an insurance crisis like never before” in the wake of the last major hurricane.
Trump noted that DeSantis is “in fifth place” in the presidential election polls in most places and suggested that the governor return to Florida to deal with the problems at hand.
DeSantis struck back at Trump immediately. He denounced Trump’s recent remarks about Hezbollah, a radical Islamic group backed by Iran. While warning about the militant group, Trump called them “smart,” which many interpreted as praise. DeSantis noted this month’s attack on Israel by Hamas, an ally of Hezbollah, and said that it’s “absurd” for anyone, “much less” a presidential candidate, to “praise terrorists.”
Even before both were in the race, the leading two GOP candidates were taking shots at one another.
The former president jumped into the race early, announcing his campaign in November 2022. DeSantis didn’t announce it until May 2023. Based on how often he criticized DeSantis before his announcement, it seems Trump knew the Florida governor had intentions of throwing his hat in eventually. It also implies that Trump initially thought DeSantis would be more of a threat, but the former president has managed to hold him above DeSantis in the polls by huge margins.
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